Parents upset over not having input on new Lemon Grove superintendent

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LEMON GROVE, Calif. — One month after parents pleaded with the Lemon Grove school board to be involved in choosing a new superintendent, one was chosen during a closed session meeting without any input from parents.

“Our school board did not live up to its promise,” said Lemon Grove parent Liana Lebaron.

It had been fireworks and a consistently packed house at school board meetings for months as parents were passionate about everything from probationary teachers being let go to who would become their next superintendent.

“I was pretty floored when I showed up to the meeting,” said Greg Shibley, another Lemon Grove parent.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, it was announced that a new superintendent was voted on during closed session.

“It’s disheartening to hear that despite parents urging school board members to allow them to be involved in the selection process of the next superintendent, that they did not do so,” said Lebaron.

As of just one month ago, at April’s school board meeting, things seemed to be on the up and up between parents and the board.

Greg Shibley suggested creating a diverse panel to help in the selection of the new superintendent, an idea School Board President Tim Shaw seemed to agree with. Shibley says he got in touch with Shaw via email, trying to work on that panel, but communication quickly faded.

“The first thing he said was essentially that, well ,we’ve got a long way to go before we get to that point so there’s no need to put the panel together quite yet,” said Shibley.

Then, within weeks, the decision was made.

On Wednesday, the Lemon Grove School District publicly announced Erica Balakian would be the new superintendent. She has worked for the district since last October as Executive Director of General Services.

“She might be wonderful, I have no idea — and that’s a lot of the problem, is that we wanted to have some input, at least be included in the discussions,” said Shibley.

FOX 5 contacted school district for any comment on why parents did not get to play a more active role in choosing the next superintendent, but did not receive a response.

Erica Balakian is already interim superintendent. She takes on the job officially July 1.

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